Apple has finally developed a new, tried-and-tested MacBook Air, faster internals, and some quality of life improvements that most users will appreciate. Should You Jump Up To The M2 Or Buy The Less Expensive M1 MacBook?
No more peg
Take a look at what’s new MacBook Air M2 And one thing will jump in your face: Apple has abandoned the stake. This iconic design has been unchanged for 14 years, debuting in 2008 with the original Intel-based MacBook Air.
The new MacBook Air looks a lot like the updated MacBook Pro introduced in 2021. The “wedge” shape is gone, in favor of a flat design supported by four slightly protruding feet. The concave appearance of older models has been replaced by a “Boxier” look that feels like a throwback to older models (particularly the latest MacBook Pro that features an optical drive).
Take a look at your keyboard and you’ll see that things don’t look all that different. While the MacBook Pro received a darker keyboard style, the new MacBook Air looks almost identical to the old model from this angle. While the feel of the structure and lack of a wedge may divide opinion in terms of look and feel, the keyboard should feel familiar to current MacBook Air owners.
New M2 chip, up to 24GB RAM
The MacBook Air was one of the first Mac models to get an Apple Silicon processor. The new MacBook Air is the first to receive a successor to this chip, the M2. While this might sound like a big deal, it’s possible that the changes are less obvious than the name might suggest.
While the M1 was a huge improvement over Apple’s previous MacBook chips, the M2 is a much more incremental improvement over the M1. The company quotes a 1.4x speed boost in terms of video editing and 1.2x in terms of photo editing tasks like applying filters. The base M2 model has an 8-core CPU and an octa-core GPU, while the original base M1 ran only a 7-core GPU. There is also a new 10-core GPU option for those who want to boost graphics performance.
One thing is clear, though, and if you have an old MacBook Air with an Intel chip, the new M2 (and M1) chip blows it out of the water. If you’re holding on to the Switch, the M2 review is a great starting point.
Perhaps the biggest benefits will come to those who use their MacBook Air for video editing. The M2 chip features H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes Raw playback. There are video encoding and decoding engines, as well as ProRes engines dedicated to encoding and decoding for those who use the format.
Finally, if RAM is a sticking point for you, the new M2 can be configured with up to 24GB of RAM. By default, both 8-core and 10-core GPU configurations have only 8GB of RAM, with a 16GB option also available (according to the original M1 MacBook Air). Both devices ship with 256GB of storage in the base configuration, with a maximum of 2TB available at checkout.
If you don’t use your hardware for video editing and aren’t configuring your RAM-hungry software, you might not notice much benefit in choosing the M2 over the older M1, especially considering that both chips are quoted for the same 18-hour “all-day” battery life makes the architecture of The new ARM-based Apple is very efficient.
Bigger and brighter screen
The MacBook Air M1 It ships with a Retina display that offers up to 400 nits of brightness. In this context, Retina is used to refer to a screen that – at optimal viewing distances – makes it very difficult to distinguish individual pixels.
The updated 2022 M2 comes with a Liquid Retina display, a moniker Apple uses to distinguish its superior IPS LCD panels from their predecessors. Apple’s marketing talks about a slightly nicer display, a screen that’s up to 500 nits of brightness but offers the same wide color gamut as the P3 as the M1 model.
The updated MacBook Air has slimmer bezels, which means there’s a slight increase in resolution to 2560 x 1664 (up from 2560 x 1660). While the additional real estate is negligible, the smaller bezels make the screen look more modern, making better use of the available space.
Be aware that the Liquid Retina display on M2 models doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the mini-LED display used in the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in 2021. On the other hand, the new MacBook Air inherits one thing from its bigger brother: screen notch .
The notch is located in the middle of the top edge of the screen, and it houses the webcam and the ambient light sensor. That design decision split, but there are ways to tweak macOS so they’re barely noticeable.
Just like the 2021 MacBooks reviewed before it, the 2022 MacBook Air gets a significant improvement in quality of life in the form of a MagSafe 3 power connector. This means that the power cable attaches to your laptop using a magnet, which can be safely detached in If it crashes with something (or someone). This should prevent you from pulling the laptop off your desk or table.
Since the M2 MacBook Air features the same Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and a 3.5mm stereo jack as its predecessor, this frees up both ports for use with accessories when connected to power. Previously, one of the ports had to be connected to power to charge the laptop, leaving you with only one port for connecting additional devices.
The base M2 model comes with the same 30W adapter as its predecessor, while the upgraded 10-core GPU model comes with a new dual 35W USB-C adapter instead. Both models are compatible with the same fast charging technology seen in the 2021 MacBook Pro, but you’ll need to purchase a 67W (or better) adapter from Apple to do so.
New FaceTime camera
The M1 MacBook Air comes with a 720p FaceTime camera, and it’s starting to show its age. Thankfully, Apple saw fit to upgrade the camera on the M2 to a 1080p model, an upgrade we saw in 2021 with our 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro review. While the slightly improved camera may seem secondary to some, it’s nice to have it at a time when more people are working remotely than ever before.
Better set of speakers
Apple is known for its attention to detail when it comes to audio quality, and the M2 MacBook Air has seen an upgrade in that department as well. The modified 2022 model has a four-speaker audio system that supports spatial audio in the form of Dolby Atmos, for a wider sound range and a more immersive listening (or viewing) experience.
The 3.5mm stereo jack has also received a slight improvement, with support for high-impedance headphones that previously required an external speaker.
Now available in black
If you’ve read this by now and your response is “So what?” A lick of paint isn’t likely to bother you…unless you’re a fan of darker color schemes. In addition to the usual version in Space Gray, Silver, and a revised version of Gold (now called Starlight), the MacBook Air is now available in a bold new color that Apple calls Midnight.
It might be the best laptop cover the company has ever produced, and goes back to the days MacBook made of all black polycarbonate From the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century.
new price point
In typical Apple fashion, if you want the latest and greatest, you have to be prepared to cough. While the base M1 MacBook Air (with 7-core graphics) starts at $999, the base M2 (octa-core) starts at $1,199. That goes up to $1,499 for a 10-core GPU option (with 512GB of storage), going up to $2,499 for a maximum device with 24GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. Could you Configure your MacBook Air on the Apple Store website.
You can no longer order the M1 version with additional cores (although you can boost the RAM and storage on checkout), which makes it a real budget option for anyone who needs a basic laptop at a (relatively) price and is happy to save some money.
Some things haven’t changed
Not everything is new in the 2022 MacBook Air. Apple uses the same 8GB of unified memory across all models, the same built-in storage and overall storage limitations, the same Magic Keyboard and Touch ID functionality, and both models also feature Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
You also get the same number of Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, up to 18 hours of battery life, and a similar portable form factor (if upgraded a bit). If you think you need more power, consider choosing a modified 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro or M1 Max processor instead.